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August '99
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of August 1999, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
August 3

John McNamara and Alan Kotok worked on a paper that describes TMRC's historic "System 2" (the relay control system that currently provides power and signals to the new layout, and which for over 30 years provided all operations in building 20!). Meanwhile Alvar investigated how to separate the monitor (LCD display) from the CPU section of the newly acquired 486 laptop which will be the main control panel for P-Yard.


August 10

Ben gave us a 'last' visit since in 3 weeks he will start at RPI. But we are sure he'll help us again when we start to do net-casts :-)
Meanwhile Andy Miller began the back of the concrete building he started a week ago... the back is actually the most visible side! John McNamara installed the first section of Roundhouse wall! Now that all the parts are painted, he will continue to put them together.
Alvar brought in the materials to separate the LCD from the laptop CPU... and actually did it! And better yet, it works! Now its time to give it a nice home in the P-Yard area.


August 14

Bill worked on the roof of the vegetable oil facility. Andy finished the back of the commercial building in the front side of Gifford City (he built the front two weeks ago). Meanwhile on the other end of Gifford City John Shriver continued to work on the ladder to the carbarn, a quite involved project. He is doing good progress, considering the complexity of the switches in there. John Purbrick continued to work on the scenery around the produce terminal and the newspaper.

Alan Kotok fixed Block #10, which was misbehaving (apparently the reversing relay was not turning on when given power, therefore it always powered the block in the same direction!). Justin used this to his advantage in doing some operation and testing equipment. Later on Justin and Alvar began to discuss what is going to happen in the west side of Gifford City: "Petingale Circle."

Alvar reminded everybody that the Activities Midway is August 31st, and proposed to build a new 'switching problem' based on the old one. The new one should be made with better track, tortoise switch machines, and have a nice, strong, and straight base. The project was received positively, so next week it will start, to have it ready by the midway.

Alvar then continued to work on the Green Building. Today he finished all the horizontal front sections of the windows, which were much more involved than the sides. He was able to finish all 4 different types: '54-100', 'Library', 'standard', and 'Machine Room'; all of these are different.

James and Alvar discussed how to implement the P-yard GUI since the control computer for P-yard is now ready to begin software programming. JP and Alvar agreed to get some of the "PIC" micro-controllers in order to start prototyping the Block Cards for System 3, which will be more advanced than the original design proposed by JP.


August 17

John McNamara put together another wall of the roundhouse and weathered other sections. JP continued to lay down 'pavement' around the produce terminal and newspaper, which now looks really neat! Alvar and James took many new pictures of the layout (which will be up soon), and some for "Technology Review" which will have a section on TMRC on the Nov/Dec issue. Alvar also worked on 'digitizing' the images for the TMRC t-shirt.


August 21

Bill continued to work on the vegetable oil facility, adding more brick sections. Alvar began the construction of a new 'switching problem' to replace the old flaky one. The new design is nice and square, and will have Micro-Engineering code 83 track, plus hopefully great scenery. At this time the structure and lattice stock is ready, waiting for the track, ballast, and maybe a building. Meanwhile Jeff began to prepare the great 'Crossing Signal' for the Activities Midway, which will take place Tuesday August 31st.


August 24

Our computer keyboard died :-( Therefore we missed a real entry for this day. In general, everything was around preparing for the Activities Midway one week from this Tuesday. Alvar worked on laying down track for the new switching layout. Andy worked on painting another 50th anniversary car.


August 28

Today was big Midway preparation day: Alvar worked a lot on the switching problem layout (which was actually finished until Monday night, but with more than 12 hours before the midway :-) Andy made three really nice posters for the midway to advertise the club and some of our coming activities. Bill continued his work on his building, and also helped Alvar with the switching layout.


August 31

Today was the Midway, which was lots of fun, and we hope to see many freshmen around soon :-)



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Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
MIT Room N52-118
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

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